The alternative residential care system

PUBLISHED: 17:58 03 August 2011 | UPDATED: 19:49 20 February 2013

The alternative residential care system

The alternative residential care system

A North East company is providing a pioneering alternative residential care system which is proving a huge success Words by Dr Guy Turnbull

You dont need to be working within the care system to have been shocked and horrified by some of the events which have made the headlines of late.

Wed barely recovered from the scenes of alleged abuse shown on the BBCs Panorama programme at an adult residential home when the system was rocked by the threatened collapse of Southern Cross.

With an ever-increasing population in need of care theres no doubt that some kind of viable provision is necessary - and there are better ways of providing it than by the tired old system of putting ageing people in a home.

My considerable experience of offering successful and compassionate care to older people convinces me that through the development and support of employee-owned social franchise companies, a comprehensive range of essential support services can be provided to people across the north of England, both privately and through local authorities - in their own homes.

For most people, moving into residential care is a last option and many do so reluctantly because the system simply doesnt allow for them to remain in their familiar surroundings if they are no longer able to fend for themselves.

At Care and Share Associates (CASA) we have developed a model which is working successfully not just in the North East but in other areas of the country as well, providing what I believe is the best of both worlds for both staff and clients.

The success weve experienced with our local authority clients has given us the confidence to offer our services to private individuals who can pay their own way and simply need some support to remain at home.

Care doesnt need to be simply about private or state residential homes - we really believe that providing the support to all people to continue to live in their own home, where they are settled and happy, surrounded by their own possessions and often with very long-standing and valued friends and neighbours close at hand, offers the most viable alternative to residential care for many people.

It is perfectly possible to look after vulnerable and older people within their own homes with staff who are dedicated and totally committed to achieving and maintaining the highest standards of care - and that is what should be at the heart of this - care.

What companies such as CASA offer is a way of providing a service to both the public and private sector based on a supportive culture for staff and service users.

CASA grew out of the award-winning Sunderland Home Care Associates, which was singled out by the Department of Health as an example of best practice and which promotes a business model that gives all employees shares, enabling them to benefit from the organisations success.

At the same time, profits are ploughed back into the organisation, allowing CASA to spend more on activities such as staff development and training.

The situation in recent cases, where staff are reported to have repeatedly physically abused vulnerable adults, would appear to be the result of a total breakdown of staff supervision.

By offering older people and people with learning difficulties and challenging behaviour personalised support in their own homes, with staff who have a strong personal stake in the success of the company, you should be able to reduce the likelihood of such behaviour occurring.

Speaking for CASA, our values are pretty simple - we believe in putting people before profit, which means that all of CASAs franchises are employee-owned social enterprises.

We put our success down to one thing; a strong focus on people. We refuse to cut corners and the welfare of our clients and staff is at the heart of our mission.

For further information about CASA and the range of services it offers visit its website at

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